Celeb Air

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I don’t know what all this is all about but every time I fly Ryan Air these days there’s always a woman sitting next to me and the moment we take off she invariably produces a celebrity mag of some sort and starts reading it. Young or old or middle-aged it makes no difference – the whole flight she’s reading that mag without taking a blind bit of notice of anything else. Totally absorbed with nothing left over. In some kind of stupefied trance. Like some kind of magazine-reading zombie.

 

“What’s all that about?” I ask myself. “What kind of a way to behave is that?” I know what you’re thinking – maybe she’s got anxiety about flying and reading about Catherine Zeta Jones or Jennifer Aniston helps the poor creature get through the ordeal of it all. Once or twice possibly, I’ll concede that, but not every time. No way. The way it happens is down-right spooky. It is not normal. Or rather, it is normal and that is what I find so freaky.

 

I know what you’re thinking. Big deal – women these days like to read celebrity mags. Get over it. What’s your problem, you ask. Well of course I don’t really know if you’re thinking or asking that but I kind of have to pretend that  I do so I can carry on with my monologue. So if you could perhaps just humour me on this point a bit…

 

Anyway, to continue with my rant. You’re thinking that it’s no big deal that on a few flights I happened to sit next a woman who liked reading celebrity magazines. You are thinking that this is a pretty meaningless bit of information. You think I am making a big deal about nothing. But that’s where you’re wrong…

 

This information is not meaningless at all. On the contrary, I am starting to think that it is crucially important. More important than anyone could ever come close to imagining. I mean, it’s no good just saying “Yeah, that stuff happens” and then just kind of getting used to it. We could get used to ANY fucked-up shit that way, just because that’s what’s going on. “That’s what people do these days. Didn’t you know that, you sad loser? Get with the program…” So because of that you have to instantly adapt to any dumb bullshit just because you’re afraid people might think you’re not hip. You can’t afford to look as if you’re the hick who doesn’t know about it! You just have to act like you’re cool with it, you have to act like nothing about it surprises you – kind of like you’re almost bored with it at this stage because you know it so well.

 

That’s the way people are though. Everyone is so pathetically ‘pseudo-sophisticated’ these days – you have to be totally unphased no matter what ridiculous pretentious crap is being put over by the media or by some crowd of scum-sucking corporate advertising executives because it’s SO uncool to act as if you’re not hip to it. How stupid is that?

 

I don’t know what you’d call that. The logic of uncritical unreflective adaptation. The logic of ‘adapt and survive’. The logic of going along with the crowd, going along with whatever obnoxious malignant toxic shit comes your way because you’re afraid NOT to because everyone else bloody well is and you’ll stand out otherwise. People might look at you. Have a bit of a laugh at your expense. Thinking that you’re a bit of a freak.

 

We’re all practically tripping over our own feet in our desperate hurry to agree with whatever lousy useless crappy piece-of-shit gimmick they’re going to come out with next. “Oh yes,” we say, “have you seen or heard or done such-and-such yet? Its so cool…”

 

But that’s exactly my point. It isn’t cool at all. Far from being cool, it is laughable bullshit…

 

Think about it. There’s all these celebrities, right, tens of thousands of the bastards, and the whole point of them – the whole point of the phenomenon of celebrity – is that they somehow epitomize our culturally ingrained social stereotypes. That’s how it works, right?

 

They have the job, whether we realize it of not, of reflecting back at us the whole gamut of our unexamined assumptions about what being a human being is all about, what life is about, what our interests should be, how we should enjoy ourselves, how we should be miserable, how we should both behave and misbehave. That’s how we know ‘how we should be’. It’s a social-reinforcement feedback mechanism. Normality-amplification. Right?

 

Not to put too fine a point on it, to be a celebrity is to have the role of embodying a whole mass of media-produced clichés about what it means to be either a successful or an unsuccessful person, a winner or a screw-up. Otherwise, how would we know what the standards are? We’d be completely in the dark, we wouldn’t have a clue, poor witless suckers that we are…

 

What I am trying to say is that the sort of stuff that we read about celebrities is ALWAYS going to reinforce the key stereotypes, and this means that the poor celebs themselves are going to have to make sure that they never depart from these stereotypes. They can be extreme, but they can never be weird because to be weird is to be non-stereotypical. In a way, you could say that they can be peculiar, but they have to be peculiar in very predictable way, they have to be extreme but banal at the same time, which means that they’re not peculiar at all.

 

In a way, though, they ARE of course pretty weird because it is freakish to be that normal. It’s super-freakish. It’s not normal for anyone to be that normal. Nobody’s that normal, except perhaps politicians when they pretend to be normal so as to win votes. At election time they have to pretend to be walking, talking stereotypes so as to appeal to the demographer’s projection of Mr and Mrs Joe Average! Good old Mr and Mrs Joe Average, huh? That’s who the politicians are after. Not me or you. Those lousy stinking politicians – a pack of pus-infested jackals if you ask me…

 

What gets me is that we’re supposed to TRUST these calculating bastards – despite their palpable insincerity! And we wonder why everything is always so fucked up! We wonder whose fault it is.

 

Well the answer to that isn’t so hard to find, is it? It’s not the witless generic celebrities. It’s not even those vile conniving politicians. It’s us. It’s our fault. We deserve everything we get, if you ask me…

 

 

 

 

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